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Friday, February 7, 2020

My Conversation with Four-Time NCAA Singles Champion Eudice Chong; Stanford Escapes, Unseeded Duke, Georgia Tech and Florida State Advance at Women's D-I Team Indoor; Rogers, Falconi and Loeb Reach Semis at Dow Tennis Classic

When I was in Midland, I caught up with several players I've known from juniors or college, including Eudice Chong of Wesleyan, the four-time NCAA Division III singles champion, who graduated in 2018. Chong, who is from Hong Kong, returned there after graduation to begin a pro career, and in 2019, her first full year on tour, she played mostly in Asia. But she is making a swing through the United States this winter and I was able to talk with her about life on tour, what she's improved in her game, Wesleyan's National Team title the year after she left and her goals for 2020 in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The first matches of the ITA Division I Women's Team Indoor Championships were today in Chicago, and although No. 6 seed Pepperdine, No. 7 seed Texas and No. 8 seed Ohio State lost, the biggest story was probably top seed Stanford's last-match-on win over Michigan. Stanford's Emma Higuchi won the last four games of the third set at line 6 to clinch the win for the Cardinal. The other 4-3 match was Florida State's win over Texas in the last match of the night.

Below are the results, with links to the winning team's coverage of the match.

Links to live streaming(with commentary by the Cracked Racquets crew) and live scoring can be found at the ITA tournament site.

Round of 16 Women’s DI Team Indoor
February 7, 2020

North Carolina[2] d. Arizona State, 4-1
NC State[7] d. Princeton, 4-0
Georgia[3] d. Virginia, 4-2
Duke d. Pepperdine[6] 4-1
Stanford[1] d. Michigan, 4-3
Georgia Tech d. Ohio State[8] 4-1
UCLA[4] d. Illinois, 4-0
Florida State d. Texas[5] 4-3

Quarterfinals Women's DI Team Indoor
February 8, 2020

North Carolina[2] v. NC State[7], noon
Georgia[3] v. Duke, noon
Stanford[1] v. Georgia Tech, 3:30
UCLA[4] v. Florida State, 3:30

At the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, No. 2 seed Caty McNally lost in the quarterfinals to No. 7 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, with Kalinina's win preventing the semifinals from being exclusively American. No. 6 seed Shelby Rogers defeated qualifier Gabriela Talaba of Romania 6-4, 6-4 and will play unseeded Irina Falconi, who came back to record a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 5 seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium.  Kalinina will face unseeded Jamie Loeb, who defeated Catherine Harrison 6-4, 6-3.

Live streaming of the event is available here.

In contrast to Midland, only one American has advanced to the semifinals of the ATP Challenger 100 in Dallas, with No. 5 seed Dennis Kudla defeating top seed Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 7-6(6) tonight. JJ Wolf and Mackenzie McDonald both were defeated in the quarterfinals today. Wolf(Ohio State) lost to Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador 7-6(8), 7-6(6) and McDonald(UCLA) lost to Dominik Koepfer(Tulane) of Germany 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. Kudla will play Gomez in the semifinals.

At the $25,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit event in Palm Coast Florida, two Americans have advanced to the semifinals: Alex Rybakov(TCU) and Alexander Ritschard(Virginia). Rybakov, a wild card, beat No. 2 seed Sandro Ehrat of Switzerland in the first round and today beat Martin Redlicki(UCLA) 6-3, 6-4. He will play unseeded Martins Podzus of Latvia in the semifinal. Ritschard, the No. 6 seed, defeated unseeded Nicolas Mejia of Colombia 6-2, 6-1 and will take on qualifier Daniel Dutra Da Silva of Brazil for a place in the final.

Rybakov and his partner Justin Butsch(LSU), who received a wild card, have reached the doubles final against unseeded Simon Freund(LSU/UCSB) of Sweden and Jaume Pla Malfeito of Spain.